Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Day After

The thirty-nine guests, ranging in age from one month to eighty-five years young, have gone, the pool water lies calm, the left-over salads, dips and veggies are stacked in rectangular containers in the fridge, and the patio furniture is back in its familiar setting. My ears are still ringing from a cacophony of snap, crackle and pop sporadically produced by someone in the neighborhood with the affinity for loud fireworks explosions. As for my husband, he is fast asleep; pressure washing the food and drink stains from the pool deck did him in.
The Melvin’s tried their best to honor Uncle Sam in traditional red, white and blue fashion. This Fourth of July celebration has become a ritual at our house. Some years we haven’t even been there but the party went on anyway. More than once, while visiting family up north, we received a call from trusted friends expressing a heartfelt “wish you were here; the whole gang is enjoying the pool. By the way, where did you put the barbeque?”
This year we called their bluff and stayed home-invited ourselves to the festivities. Now, before I go on, let me say that ‘party planning’ is my husband’s forte. Since the weather has been one-hundred degrees all week, he decided a temporary shaded shelter was in order.
“Sure, hon, go ahead,” I agreed, picturing a beach umbrella stuck here and there around the yard.
The hammering and frequent trips back and forth into the garage aroused my curiosity. When he dragged out the twelve foot ladder it was more than I could stand. What was going on? One look at the skeletal structure made up of two by fours, rope and plastic covering that reached toward the sky, elicited my response, “You didn’t tell me the Ringling Brothers Circus was setting up in our backyard! Of course, I do know a couple of clowns who’ll be here!”
All I got was a look that said, “Back in the kitchen, woman.”
In the end, it served its purpose well. Sheltered from the blazing sun, it was a perfect place to fry the mullet, trout, halibut, flounder and hushpuppies. No southern gathering is authentic without some form of fried food!
Who knows—maybe we’ll get invited back next year.

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